How Canada could use the Saudi quarrel to help the Middle East - and itself
Publisher: The Conversation
Date Written: 19/08/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22916
Saudi Arabia's overreaction to Canadian criticism on human rights provides an opportunity for Canada to rethink Middle East policy. Such a policy, based on universal human rights, would greatly benefit not just Saudi Arabians but those in the broader Middle East, and also Canada.
Contrary to the views of the mainstream media, Saudi Arabia is not reforming under the progressive leadership of a visionary millennial crown prince. Instead, it is reacting to unending pressure from economic turmoil and an oppressed population seeking freedom. Those pressures are compounded by expensive foreign interventions and funding the lavish lifestyles of the Saudi elite in a country with significant poverty.
Meaningless "reforms" like opening cinemas are offered by an elite desperate to retain the levers of power. They are fearful of the spread of democracy and project these insecurities abroad. The row with Canada only serves as a distraction from the regime's serious domestic issues and foreign-policy blunders.